Why You Should Never Rent A Moped in Thailand

This tale begins on Koh Lanta, with our decision to hire mopeds (something I said I would never do, because of all the horror stories). We were staying in a lovely, if slightly inconvenient Airbnb up in the jungle, and decided to hire scooters to save on the taxi costs of getting to dinner and the beach. We were toying with the idea of just hiring one, working on the assumption that i’d be an awful driver and could ride on the back of Amy’s, but ended up getting two so we could both give it a go. They were delivered to the Airbnb and our host gave us a quick crash course in moped riding before setting us off on our own to practice. 

The test drive didn’t go particularly well, for Amy at least, who terrified me by swerving into a coconut and almost falling off the edge of a cliff. A sign of things to come? Unfortunately, yes. I, on the other hand, was loving life and getting a hang of it quite quickly. Our first foray into bike riding down to dinner went fairly well, though riding in the dark uphill was a little scary, and Amy really didn’t enjoy it. 

The following day we drove down to a beach club to spend our first full day relaxing and sunbathing. On arrival to the car park, Amy lost momentum going up the hill and managed to tip her bike over, giving herself a little graze in the process. After much discussion on the beach we decided that once we got back home that evening we’d call the rental company to return Amy’s bike, and she would ride on the back of mine for the rest of the trip. All she had to do was get it back to the Airbnb.

Her anxiety over getting back had been building all day, so when we set off to the Airbnb in the late afternoon she wasn’t looking forward to it. It was a pretty straightforward drive though, other than turning across the main road onto the jungle road. The traffic was heavy and after waiting a long time for a gap in the cars I took an opportunity to speed across, pulling up on the side road to wait for Amy. I was watching her in my wing mirror, waiting for her to take the plunge. 

She finally got an opportunity but took the corner too tight and I watched in horror as she turned onto the road, her bike gracefully slipping out from under her. Immediately I jumped off my bike and ran towards her, helping a nice passerby pick up her bike from the floor. She had blood pouring down her leg and nasty grazes on her hands and feet, but it could have been worse. Its all quite amusing now, months (and quite a lot of time off work) later, because she didn’t even crash and we still have no idea how the cut on her leg happened. 

It was grim though, really grim. I think she was still kind of in shock, but she climbed carefully on the back of my scooter and we sped back up to the Airbnb, leaving her bike on the side of the road. Now extremely thankful for my OTT first aid kit, I set to work sterilising her injuries and patching her up. Here’s a nasty picture of the cut as soon as we got back. 

I cleaned it out to the best of my abilities and bandaged her up, then helped her to the balcony while I went with our Airbnb host to retrieve the abandoned scooter. The cut was still bleeding by the time we were ready for dinner – it had bled through the bandages – so I changed the dressings again before we called a taxi. 

We did have a really nice meal, but about halfway through Amy checked her leg and it was still bleeding. At this point, we realised we probably should have gone to the hospital. So that’s what we decided to do, after leisurely finishing up our meal, of course. No rush at all. We told the staff at the clinic that she just needed the bandage changing, but as soon as they looked at it they laughed. She needed stitches. 

Turns out, something (we still don’t know what) had gone 2cm into her knee. We hadn’t thought it looked very deep, but clearly, we shouldn’t be giving anyone medical advice. They spent a hell of a lot of time cleaning it out and squirting Betadine into her knee. I watched the whole thing, it was disgusting. Even the doctor’s assistant took a picture before they started stitching, which cracked us up to no end. 

12 injections, 5 stitches and 2 IV drips of antibiotics later, she was done. Still laughing at the fact that we’d just casually had dinner while she had a 2cm deep hole in her knee, we got a ride back to our Airbnb from the doctor’s assistant. We did question whether she needed the IVs full of antibiotics, but I guess its better than getting an infection from all the road dust. I hate to think what might have happened if we hadn’t decided to get her checked out. She was to take a strict regime of antibiotics and painkillers for the next 2 weeks, but that (and the inability to bed her leg) wasn’t even the worst part. She wasn’t allowed to get it wet until the stitches were out, which scuppered our plans for boat trips and swimming in the sea in the following few days.

The next day we spent all day at the Airbnb, melting because naturally, that was the day the AC decided to give up. After a very sad few hours lying on our bed under the fan trying desperately to cool down, we made the decision to move to a hotel closer to everything and more importantly, with working AC. By early evening we were there, lying in a room which resembled a freezer and enjoying life slightly more. Although our last few nights weren’t what we had imagined, we had a couple of really nice meals (and I enjoyed the pool the following day – see below for smugface). 

We ended up getting a private transfer to Krabi instead of the boat, then managed to secure ourselves extra legroom seats on the flight back to Bangkok, so it wasn’t all bad. We spent the next 3 days in Bangkok sitting on the sofa of our Airbnb, ordering Uber Eats and binge-watching Broadchurch, which in all honestly was the perfect end to the trip considering we wouldn’t be seeing each other for over a month. 

After getting back home Amy ended up taking 2 weeks off work because she couldn’t bend her leg (and therefore couldn’t drive) until she got her stitches out. I still feel kind of guilty for the whole thing, whilst simultaneously feeling very glad it wasn’t me. She was much braver than I would have been; I probably would have bawled my eyes out constantly for a week, while this badass didn’t even shed a tear. Still, there’s definitely a lesson to be learnt from this one: scooters are ALWAYS a bad plan. 

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